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Newbee here with bees coming in May. We're working on the hives right now. I ordered some IPM screened bottom boards that come with a corrugated sheet to slide in.
We live in Northern NY where we get tons of snow and cold temps (we had record lows for the entire country on 3 days last month).
I know that the screened boards are supposed to let the mites drop out of the hive, but can I still add a solid board underneath to keep the hive from freezing in the winter?
 

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Generally, yes.
Are your IPM boards designed so that if you put an oil tray for the vermin to fall into, the bees wont get into it & drown?
I use tin foil catering pan tops. CE
 

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I know that the screened boards are supposed to let the mites drop out of the hive, but can I still add a solid board underneath to keep the hive from freezing in the winter?
SUPPOSED is the key word. The only mites I saw falling out of a ScrBB, were dead ones. I use all solid BB's.
 

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This is the board that I ordered - not sure if can insert a tray - I guess I have to wait and see when it gets here.
http://shop.valleybeesupply.com/W870-8-Frame-IPM-Screened-Bottom-Board-w-Sheet-2295-W870.htm
Pretty much. Mine are all home made, seems like every one is a little different.
at first I thought of these as an indication of what is going on in the hive.
then some one declared that the pests would "fall" out.
Another bee keeper suggested that it was for ventilation & humidity control.
Yet another suggested that we make sure there are no horizontal surfaces for the bugs to land on & avoid falling through the screen , into the oil pan or sticky board. Supposedly "( the only cure for small hive beetles)" but you have to seal up the oil pan chamber to keep the bees from drowning in there too. So the last ones I made were pretty fiddly.

After I swap a hive from a solid board to a screen board, bearding decreases, so I think I like them. But due to time constraints, I am about half & half.
Also, I am told, if you are using a hive as a swarm trap/bait box, swarms like solid bottom boards better, as the hive is darker inside.
What I should have said in my earlier post, I am in Alabama. In New York, your winter , and winter prep will be very different from mine, so you need to listen to the beekeepers closer to your latitude more than me on that subject.
Good Luck! ... CE
 

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I live north of Albany, NY.

I use both screened BB and a solid board, year-round.

Give up the notion that mites will fall out of the hive though the SBB, at least in any quantity that will make a difference on the overall levels. That just isn't accurate. What they will do, however, is fall on to your stickies in numbers suffcient to be very useful as a population monitoring tool. That works very well, if you do tests every week all year round.

In the winter I close up the slot where the sticky board goes in tightly (and leave the board in so I can monitor even in the winter.)

Buy an extra sticky board so you can take one out (for counting) and put a fresh one in at the same time. Saves steps and improves liklihood of regular testing. Avoid buying boards with dark printed lines or a grid. These make counting more difficult. Betterbee sells unprinted ones.

BTW, you will get more on-point help if you change your location from "United States", to at least the county and state where you live. If you email the admin they can do it for you. All beekeeping is local, and therefore it's important to consider where the advice is being given.

Once you get your hives, come back and search for threads on how to use stickies effectively. I have written lengthy instructions, as have others.

Hope your new bees give you as much plesure as mine have given me. (And may I say I have higher confidence in your potential success because it appears that you are already wrapping your ahead around one of the realities of present-day beekeeping: varroa mites. That augurs well for you becoming a beekeeper, rather than just a bee-haver.)

BTW, if you live in the eastern, upstate (or Capital) region, you may find it useful to check out the Southern Adirondack Beekeepers Association. www.adirondackbees.org Prospective members are always welcome to attend the meetings, which are held in Ballston Spa.

Welcome to BeeSource!

Enj.
 

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Hello, Moxy! Welcome to Beesource!

Ever since Dr. Susan Cobey started recommending powdered sugar treatment at the end of every inspection, I went to the following sequence.

A flat wooden tray goes in for the actual powder application. I then pull it out with the excess sugar and install the sticky grid board for 24 hours to get a mites-per-square-inch reading. when the sticky board comes out, a beetle trap tray goes in with vegetable oil. I get both mites and beetles, along with baby ****roaches, occasional pincher bugs, and even small spiders in the vegetable oil tray. I just wish it got wax moths, too!
 

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Hi Kilocharlie, Another way to do mite count with PS is the accelerated drop. Place a dry whit board in the slot, powder sugar the hive, remove board & count mites 20 minutes later.
There should be something mentioned about it on scientificbeekeeping.com
 

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I've never closed mine.
Yes, well, you apparently live in the land of fruits and nuts, end enjoy somewhat better weather than some of us ;)

At a meeting with commercial and other keepers just this week, we discussed the matter of mites and screened bottom boards. The general consensus seems to be that the screened boards were nowhere near as effective as had been hoped, in regard to mite management. It helps a little, but is not a cure. In my opinion (whatever that may be worth), every little bit helps and used as a _part_ of an IPM plan it may be of benefit. However, when using formic acid or other mite control methods with it, that rely on vaporization of the active ingredient, it is necessary to slide a sticky-board into it to close it up and create a gas-chamber effect.

In re black grid sticky boards: the black lines will come off if you use a pressure washer to clean them.

I swap screens and solids for Summer/Winter. I don't see it as a lot of extra effort, if I plan it in concert with an in-depth hive examination/manipulation- I'm taking them apart anyway so I just add a stack of boards to the trailer. It doesn't necessarily get super hot here in the Summer but the screens do seem to reduce bearding, it *can* get super cold here in the Winter (as low as -30, with stiff winds...and it was sub-zero here again this morning...$#&*@) so I prefer to have the solids in place, every little bit helps. A fellow I know who lives just a bit northeast of me has been trying to keep bees for longer than I have...I say "trying" because he leaves screens all year round and refuses to insulate, every Winter his bees die and every Spring he buys new ones...and no matter how much I talk at him he always seems mystified as to why his bees keep dying, and insists on not changing what he's doing. He is evasive when it comes to other management practices so I don't know what else he isn't doing, and it seems likely that there may be additional reasons for his failures (he is a "back to nature" "crunchy" so I doubt that he is treating for mites, or anything else).
 

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I've been reading on here 8 or 9 years. There are beekeepers in Colorado, NY & other cold places that leave the bottoms open all year.
This was a very popular topic years ago.

Some commercial guys tried screened bottom pallets but the fork lifts where breaking the screen. If I remember correctly it helps with 5-10% of the miteload. So you have to use it in combination with other methods.
 
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